Warning: The below article features spoilers for both The Boys Season 2 (up through Episode 7) and the comics on which The Boys is based. This is your final warning.
For two seasons, Black Noir has remained the most mysterious character on Amazon’s superhero send-up The Boys. On the surface, the darkness-themed supe with ninja-like powers is a clear parody of Batman, especially given his place in the trifecta of Black Noir, Homelander (Superman), and Queen Maeve (Wonder Woman). But we know virtually nothing about him, besides a vague sense of his powers (standard fare including super strength and an inhuman tolerance for pain) and the fact that he has either a naive soft side, or a sick sense of humor.
So although it didn’t seem like much on the surface, it was a big deal when, during Black Noir’s fight with Starlight at Vought Tower in Episode 7, we finally caught a small glimpse of Noir’s face. It was all thanks to Queen Maeve’s knowledge of Black Noir’s secret kryptonite: an allergy to tree nuts. Maeve pulled up the bottom of Noir’s cowl so she could shove an Almond Joy in his mouth, in the process revealing some things about the supe and throwing some fan expectations into chaos.
Black Noir is played by Nathan Mitchell, a Black actor. That would seem to make sense for the character, despite Homelander at one point this season stating that Noir “doesn’t identify as any particular race.” That said, fans have always assumed that Mitchell’s role could just be a guy in a suit, and that if the show reached the point of revealing Black Noir’s face, the character would look very different from the actor who plays him currently. That’s because of a specific twist in the comics that’s so awesome, fans can’t help but hope that it gets adapted in the show.
In the comics, Black Noir is a clone of Homelander, created by Vought as a last-ditch safety measure should Homelander need to be put down. He has all the same powers as Homelander, and even looks exactly the same as him, as revealed in the comics’ penultimate volume. In fact, Black Noir is able to pose as Homelander–which he does throughout the comics series, committing heinous atrocities while wearing Homelander’s costume in order to try and speed along his leader’s downfall. Noir has been by Homelander’s side for so long, unable to fulfill his singular purpose in life as long as Homelander stays relatively in line, that it drives him mad.
How does this relate to the show revealing part of his face? Well, it’s simple: If Black Noir is an exact copy of Homelander, then he certainly shouldn’t have dark skin. For those familiar with the twist in the comics, this partial unmasking is rather convincing proof that the show will ultimately take the character in a different direction.
On the other hand, The Boys could very well do what The Boys tends to do, and adapt parts of Black Noir’s comics storyline while changing enough to keep fans guessing. Black Noir could still be a clone of Homelander, or at least contain elements of Homelander’s DNA, but have a different appearance–who knows what Vought’s scientists are capable of?
There have been some other hints throughout Season 2, as well. For example, there’s the fact that Black Noir appears to be Stan Edgar’s personal lapdog–Vought’s CEO sends the sneaky supe on secret missions and watches everything he does through a personal bodycam. Even if Black Noir isn’t a direct clone of Homelander in the show, his purpose–a panic button Vought can hit if they need Homelander eliminated–could still be the same.
Lastly, there’s the scar tissue we glimpsed in this episode. When Maeve pulls Noir’s mask up, if you look closely, you can clearly see that the skin around Noir’s jaw is severely scarred–almost like Deadpool’s in that character’s live-action incarnation. That could mean that Black Noir’s origin story is completely different from the comics, or that something went awry during his creation.
For now, we simply don’t have enough information to guess whether The Boys will entirely or even partially adapt this particular twist from the comic books. We don’t even know if Noir will recover from having almonds shoved into his mouth. Hopefully we find out more in the upcoming Season 2 finale.
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